Category: Presentation Writing

When Visuals Don’t Align

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I’ve been working with clients from a small investment advisory firm who give a variety of sales-type presentations, mainly introducing their firm and their products. Presenters are usually seated at a conference table, speaking to 1-15 people. Their visuals are almost always letter-sized decks: printouts of PowerPoint slides. They send a digital version to participants… Read More »

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Untangle Your Presentation

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Lately I’ve seen some clients whose style of pulling together the content for their presentations confuses them and slows them down. I usually advise clients to do a “data dump” before starting to write. That is, to put all points, examples, facts, themes, etc. on index cards or write them individually on a document. I… Read More »

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Married To Your Words

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When clients are deciding what information to include in their presentation or speech, I always recommend a bullet-pointed/short-phrase “data dump”. I suggest putting each idea on a separate index card or sticky, which can later be organized into a cohesive narrative. Nevertheless, many clients instead start by writing out long narratives about their topic. Now everyone… Read More »

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Is the Devil Really in the Detail?

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It has been said that, “God is in the detail.” A variation on that saying states, “The Devil is in the detail.” Translation: attention to small things can bring substantial rewards, yet beware the details: mistakes are usually made in the small details of a project. Whichever way you look at it, details matter. And… Read More »

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Tips for Presentations…and Wedding Toasts!

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Have you ever made a toast at a wedding? Spoken at a memorial service? I’ve helped speakers prepare for all sorts of private events but now it seems to be a cottage industry! An article by Bruce Feiler in the New York Times describes how these specialists approach the task, say, of writing a toast… Read More »

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“PowerPoint Misuse Syndrome”

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Do you suffer from “PowerPoint Misuse Syndrome?” That is, using PowerPoint for purposes it was never intended for. PowerPoint was officially released by Microsoft in 1990 as an easy-to-use method for producing visuals for presentations. It allowed people who would not ordinarily choose to use visual aids (note, that visuals are an “aid” to understanding),… Read More »

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Sink or Swim

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I recently received a link to a blog by renowned and esteemed communications coach T. J. Walker entitled: “How Every Manager Can Eliminate Awful Presentations and Speeches from Employees in 2015”. With his very witty and dry sense of humor, Mr. Walker advises managers to institute a a new policy: instead of sending PowerPoint decks… Read More »

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Feelings over Facts

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This past September marked the 50th anniversary of the famous “Daisy” television ad run by Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 presidential campaign. As presenters, we can learn a valuable lesson from the ad. The “Daisy Spot” was created for ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach by my father, Tony Schwartz. It is considered by many to be… Read More »

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Openings and Closings

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When you hear a joke, what do you remember about it? For me it’s the set-up and the punch line. My poor joke telling skills center around having to fudge the middle because I simply can’t remember it. How about a story? I remember the beginning and the ending but please don’t quiz me on… Read More »

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Another House Analogy

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I recently worked with six executives from a large company who were preparing for their Investor Day. Each would give a 20-45 minute PowerPoint presentation to a live audience of about 100, with a simultaneous webcast. All of the presenters received from their Investor Relations VP the same general outline of what to cover. Once… Read More »

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